More than 200 members of the U.S. House and Senate signed on to an amicus brief Thursday decrying the “unworkability” of current abortion rights and asking the Supreme Court to reconsider some of its key decisions on the issue.
Those comments were made in a brief filed with the court ahead of it hearing June Medical Services v. Gee, which concerns a Louisiana law passed in 2014 requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a local hospital ― something abortion rights activists say would leave the state with a single doctor able to perform the procedure if it were enacted.
Lawmakers behind the brief include 39 senators and 168 members of the House from a total of 38 states. The signatories are nearly all Republicans, but there are a few Democrats too, including Reps. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.). The effort was led by House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana.
A discrepancy across the judicial system about what defines an undue burden on a large fraction of women seeking abortion, which is the standard upheld by Roe v. Wade in 1973, “illustrates the unworkability of the ‘right to abortion’ found in Roe v. Wade ... and the need for the Court to again take up the issue of whether Roe and Casey should be reconsidered and, if appropriate, overruled,” the brief states.
Casey is a reference to Planned Parenthood v. Casey, another landmark Supreme Court case that upheld Roe v. Wade in 1992.
Much of the brief is dedicated to enumerating clinic protocol violations at various Louisiana abortion clinics, something Scalise highlighted in a statement he issued Thursday.
“I urge the Supreme Court to uphold this law which ensures the health and safety violations meant to protect Louisianans from the very abortionists who don’t want high standards,” he said.
But doctors and reproductive rights activists say that narrative is highly misleading. With a less than 1% rate of major complications, abortion is one of the safest medical procedures offered. In fact, there’s a higher rate of hospitalization for wisdom tooth removal than there is for abortion.